Hinshaw reports this Missouri case:
"The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District held that no attorney-client relationship was created simply by the fact the client’s stepfather paid the lawyer’s fees for a criminal defense and therefore affirmed dismissal of the legal malpractice action filed pro se by the stepfather."
" Mr. Fox asserted that he had standing because his family relationship had been harmed by Mr. White’s alleged malpractice, and he was entitled to client status since he had paid the bills and did not receive from Mr. White a non-representation letter. The court disagreed for several reasons. First, “the mere payment of fees, without more, is not proof of an agency relationship, much less an attorney-client relationship. The relationship between a lawyer and his client is a delicate and exacting one, highly personal. It involves much more than the payment of fees. “ Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Daniel, Clampett, Powell & Cunningham, 196 S.W.3d 595, 598 (Mo.App. S.D. 2006). Second, “[a]n attorney-client relationship exists when a person seeks and receives legal advice and assistance from a lawyer who intends to give legal advice and assistance to the person.” Collins v. Mo. Bar Plan, 157 S.W.3d 726, 736 (Mo.App. W.D. 2005). 2007 WL 148648 at *2. "
Finally, and even though it would have been better for Mr. White to have sent a non-representation letter, it was not necessary in these circumstances since there was no basis on which to conclude that an attorney-client relationship did in fact exist between Mr. Fox and Mr. White. Cf. Ronald E. Mallen & Jeffrey M. Smith, Legal Malpractice Section 2.12 (2005), cited in this opinion. At the end of the day, however, there simply was no specific undertaking by Mr. White on behalf of Mr. Burns’ family members.